Friday, April 15, 2016

I Am a Watercolourist


I am a watercolourist, and have known this for years, and for years I have been trying to mimic my watercolour techniques first in acrylic for a very short while and then for years in water-soluble oil paints. Returning to watercolour for three of the four rolls that will be in the group show I am in at Arcadia Gallery in Toronto this June, I find an old joy. I bought a not-too-expensive roll of Canson Monteval watercolour paper, 140lb, and cut 4 strips of paper, 6' long and 2' wide. The drawings or paintings on each strip should be 5' long, but I have not been strict about it. I dug out Windsor & Newton watercolour paints that are 30 years old, and still going strong, and bought a few new tubes of Daniel Smith, and gave in to an old joy. This week of painting has been nerve-wracking, getting the anatomy right in my own style somewhat gruelling and requiring intense concentration (gone are the even bland colours of Conceptualism), and ultimately very satisfying. I am still exploring my preConceptual Art stage, having returned to my style as a teenager and allowed what has been developing under the consciousness, at the depths, to inform the painterly choices of form, colour, brushstroke, etc., in paintings now.

Photo of 'Paint Pans' for the three figures in dance (still untitled), Roll 4, that I've been posting the progress of this week. My cat drinks paint water, hence the torn metal lid of the canning jar (too narrow for her) and the covered water glasses. I also keep a few jars of pennies nearby and give them a good shake if she tries to step on the painting - she races off at the sound and I keep them like spells around paintings and the threat of their sound has kept her off wet paintings for the 5 years I've had her I am happy to say. I keep the sable brushes overnight wetted in saran wrap (some of those brushes are 40+ years old). The Sushi dip plastic containers come in handy, huh. I use cheap cafeteria trays to keep my palette, paints, brushes, water and towels on - they are easy to move to another table for working, or another room if there is better light. In this photo, you can see the entire palette for painting the figures in over a background that had been previously prepared with all the same colours, except for the sienna and umber, that I have been posting this week.
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